One of the most hotly anticipated movies this year is Beauty and the Beast, a live-action remake of the animated Disney classic that came out in 1991. I was invited to an advanced screening of the movie and the good news is that fans of the original will surely adore this version by director Bill Condon. The medyo bad news? It didn’t exactly improve on the original. The talagang bad news? The CGI for the “beast” looks as terrible as you’ve seen it in the trailers. But let’s get to that later.
The story of Beauty and the Beast is something that a lot of you are probably already familiar with. But I realized that as you grow older, you tend to look at it differently than when you saw it when you were a kid. Belle, or “Beauty” is a prisoner in a castle somewhere in the middle of the forest in medieval France. She develops “Stockholm Syndrome” for her captor (sa mga hindi alam kung ano yun, yun yung nagkakaron ka ng affection para sa kumidnap sayo), a “beast” that seems like a cross between a goat and The Rock. This affection then develops into zoophilia. Pero okay lang kasi magiging gwapo rin naman si Mr. Kambing sa dulo. Effectively, the story teaches young boys and girls na kahit mukha kang kambing, puwedeng may mag mahal sayo as long as malinis ang iyong kalooban at meron kang malaking palasyo. Kung wala kang palasyo tapos di ka pa mabait e sorry na lang sayo Mr. Kambing kumain ka na lang ng damo.
The movie for the most part is faithful to the source material, with the plot and the dialogue literally being identical to the animated version. However, they did add a few kinks to the story to make it fresh kahit papaano. In this version, Belle is the inventor and not her father Maurice and we get a glimpse of who Belle’s mother is and how she lost her. It’s also explained that the people in the village lost all memory of that big-ass castle in the middle of the forest because of some spell that was cast by the enchantress. And of course there’s also that detail about Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick, as being the first openly gay character in a Disney movie. But other than that, parehas lang.
Which is why fans who grew up loving the animated version will absolutely love this one. If you’ve always wondered how the Beauty and the Beast from your childhood would look like with live actors playing the parts, then this movie will answer and satisfy all those curiosities. Personally, one of the things I enjoyed about the cartoon when I was a kid was the part where Lumiere the candelabra sings the song “Be Our Guest” along with a hundred dancing and singing household items. True enough, it was also one of those things that I enjoyed the most in the movie. And fans of the original can rest assured that the dance in the ballroom scene was executed beautifully as well.
Beauty and the Beast is an example of those movies with perfect casting from top to bottom. It was a genius stroke to have Emma Watson play the role of Belle because it literally seems like she’s just being herself in the movie. Once you see her in costume and she’s doing all the singing and dancing, you’ll actually realize that no one is better suited to play the role. The voice-acting for the household items are top-notch with well-respected actors like Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. Luke Evans and Josh Gad as the villains Gaston and Le Fou were surprisingly impressive and they didn’t make it seem like they were just doing impressions of their animated versions.
What I didn’t like too much about the movie was how the Beast looked like. Ang weird ng pagkakagawa sa itsura niya e. Isipin mo para kang kumuha ng kalabaw tapos nag Face Swap kayo nung kalabaw sa Snapchat, parang ganun lang yung itsura ni Beast e. I understand that they had to make the Beast look less like an animal and more like a real person to make it less scary for kids. (And to make it believable that Emma Watson could fall in love with him) Sure, you get used to him after a while but they definitely could have executed the CGI for him better. With the movie being a Disney production, it’s unacceptable for the Beast to look the way he/it did. Couldn’t they have gotten some of the animators that worked on The Jungle Book for that?
I also think that it was a missed opportunity to just retell the story as it was in the cartoon and not develop the love story between Belle and the Beast further. It seemed like it was so easy for the two of them to fall in love despite the obvious obstacles between them. Suspension of disbelief is one thing and this is a children’s film after all, but do you honestly believe that Emma Watson can fall in love sa isang tao na literally hindi mukhang tao? Hindi lang naman pangit si Beast e, (even though they actually made an effort to make him look attractive) hindi siya itsurang tao at all. It would have helped if the movie made it more plausible for a relationship between the two to develop.
Beauty and the Beast is not perfect and it’s not even entirely new. It’s simply a retelling of a story that we know about all too well. But I think in the long run it wouldn’t really matter. For those of us who grew up on these Disney cartoons when we were kids, it’s a trip down memory lane. And Beauty and the Beast is a nostalgia trip that will leave audiences with a warm and fuzzy feeling once the movie is over.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Catch Beauty and the Beast in cinemas starting March 16.